Military Divorce in Massachusetts| What You Need to Know

A military divorce can often be more complex than a civilian divorce. As a result, it is important to know what the process entails. Read on to learn more about military divorce in Massachusetts.

What are the requirements for a military divorce in Massachusetts?

When getting divorced, you will have to fulfill your state’s residency requirements. However, the residency requirement for military divorces works a bit differently, since members of the U.S. military move often for work. In Massachusetts, military members or their spouses may only file for divorce:

  • In the state where the military member is currently stationed
  • In the state where the couple has legal residence
  • In the state where the military member claims legal residence

How will my spouse be served divorce papers on a military base?

Most military bases have a designated official who acts as a law enforcement officer. You must serve divorce papers through this individual. However, the spouse who is away on duty may reject the serve and request a “stay” on the divorce in order to delay the process until he or she returns.

What is a default judgment?

When a spouse files a Complaint for Divorce, the other spouse is required to act and respond to the Complaint. If the spouse does not respond, the court will often issue a default judgment, which settles the divorce in favor of the spouse who originally filed the Complaint.

It is important to know that Massachusetts courts recognize that those serving in the U.S. military have duties that may prevent them from responding to the Complaint, so no judgment can be made on military divorces until the spouse either returns from duty or appoints legal representation to act on his or her behalf.

Will a divorce affect military pensions?

Some military members wonder what will happen to their pensions in the event of divorce. Generally, Massachusetts courts will treat a military pension as a marital asset, and therefore, it will be subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. There is also a 10/10 rule, which states that spouses married for at least 10 years while their spouse served for at least 10 of those years will be entitled to a portion of the divided military pay.

If you have any questions or concerns about a military divorce in Massachusetts, our firm is here to help. Reach out today to discuss your case with an experienced attorney.

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If you need help through a contested divorce or with any other family law matter, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.